03 December '15..
In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t amount to much. But one email from an Anglo-American academic has gone viral on social media and taught us all a little bit more about the nature of hatred against Israel. Though it is just one person rather than a group, the incident in question has gotten a lot of attention not just because it was egregious and nasty. Rather it is has made an impact because it illustrates the nature of the pathology of a particular type of left-wing Jew that believes Israel has no right to exist and that its people should be treated accordingly.
The email was from one Marsha Levine, a retired Cambridge University professor who is or was an expert on horses. She had been contacted by a 13-year-old girl living in Zichron Yaakov, Israel who wanted some information about the origin of horses for a school report. Here is what Levine wrote in reply in an email later posted on Facebook by the child’s mother:
I’ll answer your question when there is peace and justice for Palestinians in Palestine. I am a member of Jews for Justice for Palestinians. I support Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions. You might be a child but if you are old enough to write to me, you are old enough to learn about Israeli history and how it impacted on the lives of Palestinian people. Maybe your family has the same views as I do, but I doubt it. So I suggest you look at this link.
yours sincerely,Dr. Marsha Levine
Much has already been written to express outrage about this note and the sentiments it espouses. Suffice it to say, Levine is not merely criticizing certain Israeli policies such as settlements or borders. She was making it clear to the child that she considered Israel to be illegitimate, and its people have no right to live in peace in their own homeland. Levine doubled down on these comments in an interview with Britain’s Jewish Chronicle in which she expressed support for Palestinians in Gaza and said Israelis were “Nazis.” Nor did she think the fact that Shachar was merely a child should have obligated her to refrain from treating her as a non-person. Indeed, Levine’s rant was so extreme that it was even disavowed by the organization she supports. The group said it supported only “smart” BDS not a blanket boycott of everything and everyone in Israel and thought children ought to be exempt from being given the BDS treatment.
Thus, while friends of Israel have seized upon Levine’s statements and subjected her to some well-deserved opprobrium, left-wing critics of the Jewish state are saying that she is just an individual and doesn’t speak for them. Indeed, they believe discussing her extremism is a distraction from the real issues and a way for Israel’s defenders to avoid discussing its offenses.
They are right that Levine is just one person, and if this was just a solitary, nasty Jewish woman with a complex about Israel, we might do better to ignore her rather than pile on to the point where, no doubt, she probably now sees herself as a martyr to Zionist oppression. But there is something significant about her rants. It’s not just that a Jewish leftist can be found to spout rhetoric delegitimizing Israel and Israelis even if it means attacking a child. We know there are plenty of leftists, especially in Britain, who are filled with loathing for fellow Jews. The really significant thing about Levine’s stand — and by extension the other leftist Jews she probably speaks for — is how much it dovetails with the culture of Jew-hatred that leads individual Palestinians to go into the streets and to try and slaughter any random Israeli they meet.
Like the Palestinians whose opinions Daniel Polisar wrote about in his Mosaic Magazine study published last month, Levine doesn’t seem to make any distinctions between settlements and pre-1967 Israel. The link she sent the child was to an article about revisionist histories that seek to delegitimize Israel’ existence and to treat its birth as a crime. Palestinian killers and the vast majority of their people that applaud their butchery agree. Her harping on Gaza in her JC interview was also instructive in that she thinks an Islamist terrorist regime that rules the strip and shot thousands of rockets at Israelis like 13-year-old Shachar last year is the victim and the Israelis seeking to defend their existence, the aggressors.
Most interesting was the manner in which she seemed to think a Jewish child in Zichron Yaakov was as deserving of contempt and, perhaps, violence as Benjamin Netanyahu. In that same manner, Palestinians, filled with hate by incitement from their leaders and popular culture, make no distinctions between soldiers and civilians even if they are elderly persons or children.
For Jew-haters, whether Western ideologues who happen to be Jewish or Palestinians, Israelis have no rights of any kind. The “resistance” they support is not to the “occupation” of the West Bank but to the Jewish presence in any part of the country, including Zichron Yaakov, which was settled by Jews in 1882. Any crime against them — whether rocket attacks from Gaza or shootings or stabbings — is considered legitimate. Nor are they interested in the fact that Israeli withdrawals, such as the one from Gaza, was answered with terror rather than peace, or that the Palestinians have refused several offers of independence and statehood with refusals and violence. Nothing matters to either the Jewish left or their Palestinian counterparts but the crime of Israel’s existence for which every Israeli Jew may be required to pay for with their lives.
It bears repeating that those who would deny Jews the same rights they would never think of refusing to any other people in the world are engaging in discriminatory behavior. That means those who single out the one Jewish state in the world and its people for such treatment are engaging in anti-Semitism. That the bias of these “critics” of Israel echoes the vile hate that is motivating Palestinians to treat the murder of Jews as their national sport only confirms that their purpose is not justice but hate.
That one aging academic behaves in a reprehensible manner to a child shouldn’t interest us much. But the fact that there is a common thread of hate for Jews that runs between her attitude — and that of the many anti-Zionists in Europe as well as here in the United States — and that of the political culture of the Palestinians is worthy of attention and condemnation.
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